On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, Ken Munday, Teresa Duke, and I finished up our Pastor’s Luncheon and took a scenic drive through the back country. If you’ve never been, it’s very beautiful. Lots of tall trees and tons of ferns. We drove along a winding river where every now and then we would see someone taking advantage of the day with a fishing pole and a dose of patience. The sun was shining like Teresa’s face (her fourth grandchild was born the night before), and the temperature was fantastic!
After driving for a while, we were all pretty hungry, so we stopped in at a roadside restaurant that had “Darned Good Food.” It said so right on their sign, and we all agreed that sometimes you find the best food at the shack on the side of the road. As we entered, we quickly realized that including us, the customer count was now at five. We sat down and got our menus, and we were all drawn to a particular item that sounded awesome – a triple-decker Reuben sandwich! Oh man! We all decided immediately that this was a must-have.
When the waitress came to take our order, we all just said, “Reuben!” Okay, that’s what Teresa and Ken said. But if you know me, my response was a little more complicated. (And the whole Live Events team yells, “Amen!”) I’m a foodie, which means I will try something that I don’t normally like if it blends well with what I’m eating. So I had an interesting conversation with the waitress that went kinda like this:
CLo: “I see that the Reuben comes with sauerkraut. Let me ask you, is that a must on this sandwich?”
Waitress: “No, not at all.”
CLo: “I mean, does it make the sandwich? Like, am I crazy if I don’t get it on there? If so, I want it.”
Waitress: “Well, yeah, it’s really good.”
CLo: “Okay, I’ll take it.”
Waitress: “The truth is, you won’t even notice it on there. Hehe.”
I’m sorry? I won’t even notice it on there?
CLo: “Ummm…then don’t put it on there.”
Now, let me emphasize that our waitress was as sweet as can be, and she really took great care of us. I did think, however, that her response was quite funny. If I won’t notice it, why would I want the extra product? Even though she’s a waitress in a small, roadside restaurant, she’s still a salesperson.
As a salesperson, you should know everything there is to know about your product. On top of that, you have to believe wholeheartedly in the product, or you don’t need to be selling it.
“Chris, aren’t you taking this a little too far?” Uhhhh…no! Obviously, I’m now making a general statement to all salespeople, but it applies whether you’re selling an $8 Reuben sandwich or a $1 million cooling system. Your job is not the sale, it’s the service. Any good businessperson understands how important it is to have happy customers so they will be repeat customers.
So instead of telling me that the extra product – sauerkraut, in this case – didn’t matter, she could have said:
“You know, if sauerkraut isn’t your thing, this sandwich is still killer without it. Either way, you’re going to be pleased!”
Tell me, what’s your “sauerkraut” story?